Correspondence Courses

Correspondence Courses

It’s no secret that many adults (and traditional school-age students) simply don’t have the time it takes to attend classes full- or even part-time. Work, family obligations and location are all factors which can affect an individual’s ability to attend traditional on-campus classes.

Correspondence courses, for a fast-growing number of people, are the answer! These online or mail-based programs and courses allow students to learn at their own pace, and in the comfort and privacy of their own home.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at correspondence courses. We’ll review the disadvantages and advantages of these alternative learning methods, giving you the information you need to make an informed choice. Correspondence courses aren’t for everybody, but for many of today’s busy students, they’re a dream come true.

The Basics – What are Correspondence Courses?

In short, correspondence courses, sometimes referred to as distance learning, are generally any educational courses in which the student does not attend on-campus classes. These courses used to be limited to traditional mail, but the internet has allowed distance learning to grow and improve at an astounding rate.

Correspondence courses are available for many different subjects. You can obtain an AA degree online, or at least complete some required courses to help with your “on-campus” degree. You can also simply take a few classes for fun or to learn a new skill. Even elementary and high school students can participate in correspondence courses.

Who Are Correspondence Courses For?

Literally anyone can benefit from correspondence courses. Common reasons for seeking distance learning include family obligations, a heavy work schedule or an inability to move close to the college or university of your choice.

Due to the at-your-own-pace nature of correspondence courses, they’re ideal for students who aren’t available during traditional school hours. A student can work in the middle of the night while up with a baby, or after completing a late shift at work. Correspondence courses do have deadlines and due dates, just like any other course, but the lack of set classroom hours makes for a very flexible schedule.

What Should I Avoid?

Correspondence Courses

In the past, correspondence courses earned bit of a bad reputation. This was due to the fact that many of them were of poor quality, and any credits or degrees earned were very unlikely to be accepted, respected or even recognized by employers or traditional schools. Obtaining a job or transferring credits was next to impossible.

Thankfully, all that has changed. The vast majority of today’s correspondence courses are offered by reputable, accredited institutions. Credits transfer just like credits earned in a classroom setting, and employers view an online degree or skill just as they would one earned in a more traditional manner. There are a few employers out there who still raise an eyebrow at an online degree, but these tend to be few and far between.

You still need to be careful, however, when finding the right correspondence courses. Some disreputable companies are still out there, fooling well-meaning students into thinking they’re earning a legitimate degree or certificate.

Before you pay any money for correspondence courses, check into the institution offering them. Just as with traditional schools, correspondence courses should be fully accredited by all applicable organizations. This will help ensure that your degree or certificate will be treated with respect, and that your credits will transfer if need be.

What Types of Courses are Available?

The majority of correspondence courses available today are either business or computer science courses. However, a growing number of innovative schools are finding ways to make many other subjects available through correspondence courses. For example, Purdue University, a highly respected institution, offers a Veterinary Technician course completely online. Students make arrangements with a veterinarian near them for lab-related testing, which is videotaped for verification by instructors.

What are the Disadvantages of Correspondence Courses?

For some students, there are disadvantages to correspondence courses. Students who feel they need one-on-one time, in person with an instructor, may find correspondence courses too impersonal.

However, many schools are addressing this issue. Using online video calling, you can now chat one-on-one with your instructor. This option isn’t available for all correspondence courses though, so read through the course description closely.

Some students find that they can’t be accountable to themselves for deadlines, and feel that this is a disadvantage. However, more students report that the self-accountability fostered by correspondence courses is actually a bonus! Self-reliance is a great skill to have, and correspondence courses build it quickly. This is especially valuable for high school students, since self-reliance is a skill which many don’t develop until college. Developing this skill early means fewer missed deadlines and an increased sense of confidence.

What are the Advantages of Correspondence Courses?

Scheduling is the most common advantage reported by students enrolled in correspondence courses. The freedom to attend classes anytime and anywhere is a big relief for those who have time commitments. Thanks to correspondence courses, a mother working full-time can still earn her degree, without sacrificing time with her child or her career! Correspondence courses are often less expensive than traditional classes, as well.

For high school students, the advantages of correspondence courses can literally be life-saving. In high school, bullying is a bigger problem than ever before, and it’s often truly vicious. Bullied students can’t learn properly in class because they’re always tense and anxious. Often, then don’t even want to go to school. Correspondence courses offer a safe way for these students to earn their diploma.

High school students who live in very rural areas can also benefit greatly from correspondence courses. These areas often don’t offer the level of advanced classes the gifted student needs to excel. Through correspondence courses, a gifted student in a rural setting can receive the same quality, advanced education as one living in a large urban area.

Regardless of your age, situation or purpose, today’s correspondence courses are a truly innovative way to earn a degree, diploma, certificate or simply learn a new skill. Remember to ensure proper accreditation for any correspondence courses you’re considering, and be sure to be fully accountable to yourself regarding deadlines and due dates.

With some self-discipline and a few “anytime” hours each day, you can advance yourself academically and professionally.

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